'Wrong Turn'.

With continued paucity of product from the US and other international territories, Australian films remain the main event at the box office.

Showing incredible legs, Robert Connolly’s The Dry is still the no. 1 title, earning just under $1.2 million across its sixth weekend, a drop of just 18 per cent.

The mystery drama, based on the novel by Jane Harper, has now made $16.2 million in total for Roadshow Films. That figure makes The Dry the 17th highest grossing Australian film of all time (without adjusting for inflation), and the fourth highest performing local film of the last decade behind Lion, The Dressmaker and Red Dog.

Fellow Roadshow drama Penguin Bloom, directed by Glendyn Ivin and produced by the same production company as The Dry, Made Up Stories, remains in the number two spot. In its third frame, the Naomi Watts-starrer earned $729,269, a fall of 43 per cent, to bring takings to $5.2 million.

Stephen Johnson’s High Ground was the fourth best performing title nationally, ringing up $405,423 for Madman over its second weekend, to advance to $1.5 million.

Village Cinemas film programming manager Geoff Chard hopes that this week’s release of Josh Lawson rom-com Long Story Short (via Studiocanal) will see another Aussie title among the top five.

“It does go to show that audiences will support quality Australian films in cinemas,” he tells IF.

“Unfortunately though with few major Hollywood titles scheduled to release over the next few months, we expect the business to be somewhat depressed overall.”

Wallis Cinemas senior advisor Bob Parr is pleased with the major Aussie releases, summarising: “The Dry won’t evaporate. Penguin Bloom keeps flying. High Ground is steady.”

Similarly, those three titles are the top takers at the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace, with The Dry in particular holding impressively.

However, the cinema is still relying on live shows, special event programming and festival screenings to get it through this period.

“If we were solely relying on general film releases we’d be in big trouble,” GM Alex Temesvari tells IF.

This week, Independent Cinemas Australia (ICA) is running a campaign to get federal MPs and the wider community to visit local cinemas to raise awareness of the pandemic’s impact.

CEO Adrianne Pecotic told IF the financial impact of the global pandemic on independent cinemas needed specific government attention, especially with the JobKeeper program ending in late March.

‘Wild Mountain Thyme’.

The Dry and Penguin Bloom were the only two titles to cross $500,000 mark over the weekend. Overall, the top 20 titles made $5.2 million, a fall of 28 per cent on the previous, according to Numero.

In third position was Madman Films’ Liam Neeson thriller The Marksman, which collected $417,644, advancing to $2.6 million.

Debuting in fifth was Kismet/Rialto’s Wrong Turn, directed by Mike P. Nelson, which rung up $367,454 from 147 screens, an average of $2,500 – second only to The Dry. A reboot of the 2003 film of the same name, it follows hikers who stray from the Appalachian Trail and cross into land inhabited by a hidden community of mountain dwellers who use deadly means to protect their way of life.

Now more than seven weeks in release The Croods: A New Age continues to draw a crowd, ringing in $364,778 to see it cross the $20 million mark. That sees it not far off the 2013 original, which made $24.1 million.

Following on from four Golden Globe nods, Roadshow’s Promising Young Woman is holding well, earning $307,303 in its fifth frame, down only 13 per cent on the previous. Overall, the black comedy thriller has collected $3.1 million.

Madman romance Wild Mountain Thyme, starring Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan, Jon Hamm and Christopher Walken, opened on $305,016 from 245 screens. Set in Ireland, the film, directed by John Patrick Shanley and based on his play Outside Mullingar, follows a pair of star-crossed lovers who get caught up in their family’s land dispute.

Despite being on PVOD for two weeks, WB’s Wonder Woman 1984 continues to draw a relatively decent crowd, earning $287,823 in its seventh frame. Overall, the film has notched $24.3 million.

Rounding out the top 10 was Universal’s Robert de Niro comedy The War With Grandpa, which earnt $133,302 in its 10th frame, advancing to $9.7 million.

Of the other Aussie titles in release, Monster Pictures’ Occupation: Rainfall notched $88,769 over its second weekend, to bring total earnings to $336,856.

Sally Ingleton’s documentary following young environmental activists, Wild Things, bowed on $7,050 from 20 screens for Potential Films. With previews, it sits on $16,099.

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